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 CTO.org - News Archive - March 7, 2018
Samsung has revealed its HW-N650 sound bar features a series of holes across the top, and also announced an update to its high-end HW-K950 Atmos model.

Two employees at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology may have learned this the hard way.

Netflix is normally secretive with its data, but it's giving us a peek into how members stream by device, country, connection type -- even genre.

The beleaguered co-founder of the ride-hailing company is moving on to investments, with a new fund called 10100.

Bill would require hardware manufacturers to make repair information, diagnostic tools and service parts available to device owners and repair shops.

What's so funny, Alexa? Amazon's smart assistant isn't telling. And it's got some people creeped out.

Remember the mama giraffe/webcam star who gave birth on YouTube? She's now sticking her neck out to try a new career -- painter.

The 2018 Geneva Motor Show treated us to a ridiculous number of unveilings, including 1,000-plus horsepower hypercars, mind-bending concepts, the next wave of consumer electric vehicles and more than one flying car concept.

The latest in a long line of disappointing attempts at making a flying car lands at the Geneva Motor Show, costs a boatload of greenbacks and currently lacks FAA certification.

At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Renault revealed the autonomous electric EZ-GO, which focuses on shared urban mobility.

The high-definition lighting system is computer controlled and features 2 million micro-reflectors that can project shapes on the road in front of the driver.

The streaming company is adding vertical video previews to its mobile app in a experience that feels a lot like swiping through Snapchat.

An agile robot takes a Rubik's Cube from scrambled to solved in under half a second.

It's a shame this Star Wars scene was cut, because the former Stormtrooper has so much fun taunting his shiny boss.

The enigma of aviator Amelia Earhart's disappearance gets a new twist with a forensic analysis of bones discovered decades ago on a Pacific island.

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Google on March 6 released Chrome 65 for Windows, macOS and Linux, with fixes for 45 vulnerabilities, and security and developer improvements and enhancements that users won't see, or even notice.

Chrome updates in the background, so users only need relaunch the browser to install the latest version. (To manually update, select "About Google Chrome" from the Help menu under the vertical ellipsis at the upper right; the resulting tab either shows the browser has been updated or displays the download-and-upgrade process before presenting a "Relaunch" button.) Those new to Chrome can download it from this Google site.


For regulators to understand blockchain's cybersecurity benefits and risks, they must first have a deeper understanding of the technology '-" and businesses hold the key to that, according to new research.

Governments around the world are beginning to increase regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, which are underpinned by blockchain's distributed ledger technology. In turn, businesses that use private or "permissioned" blockchain networks are likely to also see more oversight, according to experts.


There are lots of good reasons you might want to analyze public data, from detecting salary trends in government data to uncovering insights about a potential investment (or your favorite sports team).

But before you can run analyses and visualize trends, you need to have the data. The packages listed below make it easy to find economic, sports, weather, political and other publicly available data and import it directly into R -- in a format that's ready for you to work your analytics magic.



Packages that are on CRAN can be installed on your system by using the R command install.packages("packageName") -- you only need to run this once. GitHub packages are best installed with the devtools package -- install that once with install.packages("devtools") and then use that to install packages from GitHub using the format devtools::install_github("repositoryName/packageName"). Once installed, you can load a package into your working session once each session using the format library("packageName").


Every time there is a big wireless, telecom or technology trade show, the big question I am always asked by the media as a telecom and wireless analyst, is simple. What was the key message or take away from the show? Last week, at the world'-™s largest wireless trade show, Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain, the answer was clear. First it is about 5G, with plenty of AI and IoT mixed in. Yes, our world is rapidly changing.

So, what will 5G, AI and IoT do for us? Today, in our 4G world, we can download a movie we want to watch in roughly 6 minutes. Using 5G, we will download the movie in roughly six seconds. It will change everything. It will encourage new business creation. It will empower new ideas and new companies just like we have seen with Uber and Lyft in recent years.


The good news, if you're a developer (or hope to be one) is that it's a lot easier than it used to be break into the field. The bad news is that the skills you have now, or learn today, may not be useful for as long as they were, say, 20 years ago.

As Infoworld's Serdar Yegulalp noted: Think about all the Adobe Flash developers whose careers are on the rocks now that Flash has largely become a dead end.

Yegulalp, PC World's Michael Simon and Computerworld Executive Editor Ken Mingis talked about what it takes to be a developer these days, and difficult it can be to stay on top of the skills needed to be a success." 


One of the biggest reasons Apple users need to beware of phishing attacks is that compromised iCloud accounts are among the most valuable of those traded on the dark web at $15 per account.

All your data belongs to us

Think about the value of your Apple ID data: Not only is your account the golden portal into all your personal data, but it unlocks all manner of other valuable items: credit card details, online purchasing, passwords for your websites and more.

That'-™s why every Apple ID user really should think about the value of the data they are trying to protect and create tough alphanumeric passcodes, even if they do need to spend significant time memorizing those codes.


While the names are similar - Chrome and Chromium - the labels represent two different web browsers. But they are related.

One leads to the other. One is open-source, the other is not, not really. One dominates the world's browser landscape, like a single huskie dominates a team of Chihuahuas on the Iditarod. The other is used by less than one-sixth of one percent of all those who ran a browser last month.

Computerworld put Chrome and Chromium under the magnifying glass to better understand what Chromium does and how it figures into the development of its offspring. Here's what you need to know to better understand them both.


This company makes parts that are subject to rigorous quality control -- and that means they must be X-rayed before they're shipped to customers, says a programmer pilot fish working there.

"The process involved a technician writing the lot number down on a piece of paper," fish says. "The paper was affixed to the tray of parts that were X-rayed and sent to final inspection. The film was placed into boxes with film from other lots for storage.

"Depending on the parts, the film had to be stored for anywhere from 30 days to 99 years."

Trouble is, it's impossible to reliably track the film, because those pieces of paper get misplaced and lot numbers are mistyped.


With the first Android P developer preview inching ever-closer to its arrival, I've been thinking a lot about the state of Google's Android software and where it stands in the grander mobile tech ecosystem.

Even within Android itself, after all, it's hard to talk about the "new" features of a major release without acknowledging the fact that, in some form, many of those features have often long existed in third-party manufacturers' implementations of the software.

Take Nougat, for example. The big headline feature from 2016's Android 7.0 release was the addition of split-screen mode '-” the ability to view two apps on-screen at the same time. Another noteworthy element was an expanded Quick Settings area, with an added set of always-present toggles atop the regular notification panel and a newly customizable set of tiles when you swipe down from that view.


You may recall that last month'-™s cumulative update for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709), KB 4074588, brought with it a torrent of bugs. After watching customers twist in the wind for two weeks, Microsoft finally acknowledged these bugs:

  • Windows Update History reports that KB4054517 failed to install because of error 0x80070643. (Bogus, an old bug; ignore it.)
  • Because of an issue that affects some versions of antivirus software, this fix applies only to computers on which the antivirus ISV updated the ALLOW REGKEY. (A warning: That'-™s now de rigueur for all Windows updates.)
  • After installing this update, some USB devices and onboard devices, such as a built-in laptop camera, keyboard or mouse, may stop working. This may occur when the Windows Update servicing stack incorrectly skips installing the newer version of some critical drivers in the cumulative update and uninstalls the currently active drivers during maintenance.
  • After installing this update, some devices may fail to boot with INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE. This issue occurs when the Windows Update servicing stack incorrectly skips installing the newer version of some critical drivers in the cumulative update and uninstalls the currently active drivers during maintenance
  • Because of an AD FS server issue that causes the WID AD FS database to become unusable after a restart, the AD FS service may fail to start. There is no way to undo the database corruption. To return your AD FS server to a functional state, you must restore it from a backup.

Yesterday'-™s cumulative update, KB 4090913, which brings Win10 1709 up to build 16299.251, claims to fix the third bug:


While I think it'-™s true to say iMessage apps are a promise that'-™s still waiting to be kept, I'-™ve little doubt we'-™ll see these lightweight apps become more important '-” and more ambient '-” in the future." 

What are iMessage apps, and how do I use them?

iMessage apps are available from the App Store for Messages.

You find the store and access those apps you have already installed by tapping the App Drawer icon left of the text entry window in an active iMessage. Tap the App Store to find new apps." Apple includes a few default apps '-” Recents, Music, Digital Touch, GIF images, and Apple Pay (where available).


The launch of a big Microsoft Windows 10 update like the Fall Creators Update isn'-™t the end of a process '-” it'-™s really just the beginning. As soon as a major update is released, Microsoft quickly gets to work on improving it by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

Here we'-™ve summarized what you need to know about every Windows 10 update being released to the public. First come updates to the currently shipping version of Windows 10 '-” version 1709, known as the Fall Creators Update '-” with the most recent updates on top. (Note that the Fall Creators Update is on a phased rollout, so you may not have received it yet.) Below that are updates to version 1703, known as the Creators Update. For each build, we'-™ve included the date of its initial release and a link to Microsoft'-™s announcement about it.


Amid the growing use of mobile devices for work by federal employees, U.S. defense and intelligence agencies are fast adopting biometrics and other alternative ways of " computers, smartphones and tablets, according to a new report.

More than 90% of federal agency IT officials in an online survey said their organizations provide secure mobile access for work-issued devices, but less than 20% support workers' personal devices to access most agency systems. Forty percent of those same officials voiced concern about securing personal devices, according to the online survey of federal government IT and cybersecurity officials.


It's a few decades back, and this university decides it's time for a dedicated computing center, says a pilot fish studying there at the time.

"Grand plans were made," fish says. "The computing center would be next to the administration building and in front of the library.

"But that brought objections from the people who gave the money to build the library. So the computing center was built there -- but underground.

"The computing center could be reached from the admin building basement, but because the computing center was lower, the hallway between buildings was a ramp.

"All was well until one day when a move was going on. The maintenance men were moving dollies loaded high with furniture from the admin building to the computing center.


Granted, February'-™s patches from Microsoft weren'-™t as malevolent as January'-™s patches, but they still managed to knock out lots and lots of PCs. That said, if you can tiptoe around the problems, now is a good time to get the latest versions of the latest patches installed.

Problems with Win10 Fall Creators Update

The worst problem I see at this point involves clobbered USB connections on Win10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709) machines after installing the latest cumulative update, KB 4074588. To its credit, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem. But the only offered fix, a complex manual workaround, would drive a hardened MS-DOS junkie to drink.


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BYTE is starting a new series, to bring back the issues you loved in print from 1975 to 1998. Initially we have the first two issues and four others from 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Security experts urge companies to implement two-factor authentication, VPNs, and graduated permission levels to better protect customer data from hackers.

Microsoft admits that it doesn't encrypt all server-to-server communications, opening the way for the NSA and others to access the data flow.

Affordable Care Act site has faced a relatively low volume of attacks, compared with other federal websites.

Google's Gmail app for iPad and iPhone gets new features and iOS 7's design language.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels announces PostgreSQL database service, new instance types, use of solid state disk to speed I/Os.

As software eclipses hardware, it's dawning on enterprises that they need API programs. Here's where to begin.

Authors Guild's claim of copyright infringement gets shot down in a surprise ruling.

The goal is allow home monitoring devices and mobile health apps communicate more easily healthcare providers.

Google's personal assistant software gets upgraded to better manage owners' lives and understand natural language requests.

Android smartphones owners can now pay for goods and services by tapping their device to Isis terminals at 1.3 million locations nationwide.

LinkedIn pushes customized content with the integration of news curation app Pulse for desktop and mobile versions.

Hacker grabbed 860,000 passwords for fun, but promises not to leak or use them to harm people.

VMware wants to move into cloud computing? Guess what, Amazon's moving into desktop virtualization.

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CES 2018 had more than its fair share of wacky items and compelling gadgets, but one of the biggest trends to emerge, once again, from the popular tech expo was voice-enabled devices. And, of course, it was all about Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.



Here are seven items at CES 2018, some of which address legitimate use cases and some of which may be closer to mad-scientist territory.



At CES 2018, Sennheiser announced two new products that focus on recording or playing back 3-D audio.



Honda wants to change your perception of robots. And it's hoping to do so with four new concept robots.



At CES 2018, Ford announced it is working with a city in which it will operate its self-driving cars. The automaker wouldn't identify the city but did say how autonomous vehicles can change the way people live.



Intel is betting that Volocopter 2X will be one of the first passenger-carrying drones to operate in the U.S. A prototype of the pilotless two-seat helicopter-like drone was shown off at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.



AMD CEO Lisa Su told Yahoo Finance that the Austin, Texas-based computer and graphics chip company is quickly working to resolve and address a recently-discovered security flaw that affects AMD computer chips.



Nvidia rolled out a slew of updates for its GeForce line of gaming products at CES 2018 including massive computer screens and cloud game streaming.



It's hard to figure out which of the connected household devices on display at CES 2018 is worth buying, but it's even more difficult to know if they are secure from hackers. A security expert visits exhibits and tries to help.



Nicomi Stewart, a mother in Rochester, New York, is '-'disgusted'-" after an automated call sent to her phone from the city'-™s school district mispronounced her daughter'-™s name as a racial slur.



You may soon get to say a lot more on Twitter. The social media giant announced it is testing a longer character limit. The change will extend the current 140 characters to 280 for all languages except Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Users won'-™t see this change right away, though. Only a small percentage will be testing it at first, and according to the company, it is just a test and there is no guarantee this change will be available to everyone. Via Business Insider:" http://www.businessinsider. ...



Mac OS High Sierra (macOS 10.13)." As the new name suggests, it'-™s just a refinement of last year'-™s Mac OS Sierra. In fact," you" could sum up what's new in an article about as short as" this one.



Want to add some cool sound effects or music to your YouTube video (or any video)?



Facebook has a "realistic opportunity" to enter China in 2018, Mizuho analyst James Lee wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday. Lee came to the conclusion after meeting "various industry contacts" in China during a recent trip. Facebook's recent appointment of an executive to manage relations with China will help the company "understand the regulatory requirement and negotiate Facebook's operating structure in China," said Lee in the note, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider.



Apple is expected to include wireless charging as a core feature in the iPhones it launches on...



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